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Dire prognostications don’t faze White Sox

White Sox manager RobVenturdoesn’t put much stock preseaspredictions. He’s focused more important matters. | Mark Duncan~AP

White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t put much stock in preseason predictions. He’s focused on more important matters. | Mark Duncan~AP

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Updated: May 2, 2013 6:29AM



Predictions are part of baseball’s opening-week routine, but they remain meaningless to players, good or bad.

“A lot of people don’t have us picked to do anything, but what matters is what we do as a team more than what somebody picks you to do,’’ White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I’d be very disappointed if guys weren’t optimistic.

“What matters is how you play, what guys feel like, how they come together. There are a lot of teams that weren’t expected to do a lot that did.’’

Opening Day starter Chris Sale said the team is optimistic.

“We believe in ourselves,’’ Sale said. ‘‘That can take us a long way.’’

The rotation

Monday’s opener will be followed by a day off Tuesday before Jake Peavy faces Ervin Santana, making his first start for a team other than the Angels. Gavin Floyd faces Jeremy Guthrie in the series finale Thursday against the Royals.

The day off means fifth starter Dylan Axelrod will have extra time off before his scheduled first start Saturday — with the long-range forecast suggesting continued cold temperatures.

“I heard it might snow,’’ Axelrod said. “I’ve never been in snow in my life, so this could be a first.’’

Climate change

The Sox will play 16 home games in April, which could mean getting acclimated to cool temperatures.

“That’s part of playing here, and I hope guys know that and expect that,’’ Ventura said. “Hopefully, we can take advantage of it, and it becomes a good thing for us to play in that kind of weather.’’

Division change

The revamped Royals are expected to be American League Central contenders — a recurring prediction in recent years.

“You have to focus on who you’re playing,’’ Ventura said. “Just because the last two weeks [of last season] were so bad, you can’t automatically jump ahead to two weeks left in a season and do it all over again [as if] you’re going to make up for it. You play every day. Right now, the most important thing is Kansas City. It’s not Detroit just because they won the division and you lost by three games.

“Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.’’

Captain K

Paul Konerko , the last player left from the 2005 World Series championship team, remains in his longtime role as team captain. But the roster includes younger, developing players who add a different “leadership’’ dynamic, Ventura said.

“Paul’s been here the longest, and he’s respected and does all the right things, but we have other guys that do it in different ways,’’ Ventura said.

“To have a team of guys able to set an example for guys to follow, we have quite a few guys that can do that. Have fun, get on somebody, motivate — we have all those good things.’’



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